This article examines the 1965 first edition of Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson’s Ett barn blir till (A Child Is Born) by placing the book back in the historical context in which it was produced, marketed, and reviewed. In particular it shows how medicine and the media in Sweden were intertwined in the process of incorporating Nilsson’s photographs of aborted embryos and fetuses into a best-selling book on the origin and development of human life. Nilsson’s work is related to other books in the same genre as well as the popular picture magazines of the time, in order to highlight how it aspired to offer something new. It is argued that a number of commercial and other interests were involved and that an immense effort went into not only making and promoting the book but also trying to control the meaning of the images.


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pp. 491-525
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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